Sky-high heels, behemoth hoods, and outlandish silhouettes that exude romanticism, quirk and fantasy define this Dutch creative master’s signature designs. 37-year-old Jan Taminiau, who counts among his many fans, pop sensation and fashion radical Lady Gaga, says his love for all things creative comes from his family, which is made up of antique dealers, decorators and interior designers.
The designer was in town recently for a collaboration programme called Dutch Fashion Here & Now, which will see him team up with ace Indian designer, Suneet Varma. Over a relaxed brunch, Taminiau spoke to us about his love for all things romantic and those that spur his imagination.What he loves most about India: I have been to Jaipur. I loved the lovely pink sandstone structures there and was totally fascinated with the jewellery.
For example, polki — uncut diamonds that have a lot of mystique, and fabulous craftsmanship I saw in Rajasthan. I also loved block prints. There are so many elements to explore in India and you can play with them for the rest of your life. On Suneet Varma:I love the shapes, forms and fluidness of his designs. The craftsmanship he uses is also impressive. I also like the way he does fusion. He uses a mix of influences in his designs, while keeping his heritage alive. His love for designing sky-high heels: I love putting women on a high platform. You have the freedom to do that kind of a thing in a show. I want to make women larger than life because that is how I see them — that’s the magic of being a woman. You see a woman walk into a room, she plays with her hair, and suddenly she has captivated everyone’s attention. You know something has changed. That’s what I want to translate into my dresses. I also love to throw a dash of magic into my designs. Life’s beautiful when you still have magic.
His inspirations: There’s a whole lot of inspiration around you. You step into the world and take it in. Even when you log on to the internet, there are a whole lot of visuals that inspire you. I have been fascinated by the culture of Africa. You see people with those big ornamental hoods on their shoulders — and you wonder what these are in the beginning, and then realise how beautiful they are as a form. I’m also fascinated by visuals from Uzbekistan.
One thing women must have in their closet: A good bra. That’s the real base of any outfit — the basis on which you build your dress. Your jacket will look different with different kinds of bras. It will change the way your jacket fits.
One thing that women must stop wearing: White leggings. They can look like a horror if not worn right. They can reveal too much. You must have a great body to wear them and the right underwear is also a must. If you can’t pull off white leggings, buy treggings (trousers shaped like leggings) that have a rocky, leathery feel to them.
A trend that’s going to be big next year: Mixing ethnic with rock. Take a pair of skinny jeans, pair it with a small leather jacket and add a stole in ethnic print or a scarf, with some ethnic detailing. Go for ethnic accessories, like a bracelet. Don a plain dress, couple it with a nice bag, and play with these accessories.
Hottest colours for next year: Red and green. Both colours are very sensual and beautiful, and will be a rage.
How he would dress up Indian women: Saris look great on Indian women. I would love to make the sari more rock and roll and give it an edgy look. Saris and lehengas have great forms. It would be nice to play with them, throw in some imagination. I also love the curves that Indian women are blessed with. It would be a pity if they get inspired by stick thin models and lose the roundness of their body.
His style icons: I would pick Audrey Hepburn for her timeless elegance. Among rising actors, I like Frieda Pinto’s style sense.
Dollops of sartorial drama Jan Taminiau unflinchingly adds drama to his creations, coupling it with a hefty dose of unconventional creativity. No wonder he has the Goddess of quirk, Lady Gaga sporting his designs. Gaga wore Taminiau’s creation in the song You and I. She has also donned his outfits for the red carpet and other public appearances. The designer is famous for making super high heels, which he says adds to the dramatic tone of his shows.